How to Handle an Interview

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So the job liked your resume enough to call you back and interview you. Now what? Although getting an interview is a step in the right direction, plenty of people get interviewed without getting hired. There are several steps you can take to make sure you’re not one of those people.

One thing many people report experiencing when heading into an interview is nervousness. Keep in mind that the interviewer thought you were qualified enough to give you this consideration. In other words, you’ve already cleared the biggest hurdle. Don’t be nervous, and don’t focus on your nervousness. Focus instead on what problems the company has that you know you can solve.

Keep this attitude in mind throughout the interview. The interview is essentially your chance to convince the people at the new company of how awesome you are. If they ask “yes” or “no” answers (although a good interviewer won’t), answer them as if they were more open-ended. You’re trying to sell yourself and impress the interviewer, and one-word answers won’t do that (unless you’re trying to get a job as a mime or something equally taciturn.)

Keep the tone professional. Although you might be a hilarious person when not on the job, cracking too many jokes in an interview can be fatal to your chances. The interviewer is trying to determine whether or not you will be able to do the job he or she has in mind, and unless comedy is part of that description, excessive humor will make you seem less qualified. This doesn’t mean you should be boring or stiff, but keep the mood focused on what you can and will do.

Don’t talk about your previous boss in a negative light. Even if this person is currently serving time for something heinous, it makes you look bad to make them look bad. No one likes someone who gossips, and that’s what talking about a boss looks like. The ability to be gracious, even in the face of someone who does not deserve it, is an admirable quality, and one that may just increase your chances of getting hired. Remember, the interviewer may end up having to spend most of each day for the next few years with you, and knowing that you’re not the type to bad-mouth people behind their backs will make this much more palatable.

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